Nigeria’s electoral commission chair Mahmood Yakubu declared on Sunday that he was generally happy with the progress made in the conduct of the presidential and national elections.
Yakubu, who was addressing journalists on Sunday following Saturday’s vote admitted that there had been some glitches in several parts of the country, including in the two capitals of Lagos and Abuja.
Nearly 73 million eligible voters cast their ballots from a pool of more than 70 presidential candidates in an election which was postponed the previous Saturday, just hours before it was due to begin, due to logistics.
Results are expected to start trickling in early on Monday with a “substantial number” likely on Tuesday, election commission official Festus Okoye said.
It is widely expected to be a tight presidential race between President Muhammadu Buhari and businessman Atiku Abubakar.
Scroll down to read about the following:
- Voting largely over, counting and collation underway
- Buhari wins in his, Atiku’s and Obasanjo’s wards
- Lagos hit by voting violence
- Anti-graft body deploys to fight vote buying
- Voting extended in areas where process started late
- Election body happy over functionality of card readers
- A three-pronged voting
- Nigeria’s presidential and legislative tenures
- Who is passed fit to vote?
- Election facts and figures
- Buhari votes, says he’ll congratulate himself
- Atiku votes, talks about ‘ successful transition
- Suspected terrorist attack in northeast with hours to opening of polls
Time for results
The electoral commission is expected to start declaring results of the presidential election on Monday, including confirmation of official results for the National Assembly.
INEC officially opened the collation center for presidential election results in Abuja on Sunday.
‘‘There will be a formal inauguration and it is from there, hopefully in the not too distant future, the commission will make a formal declaration of who the next President of the Federal republic of Nigeria is,’‘ INEC chair Yakubu told journalists on Sunday.
“At the moment no SCOPE (State Collation Officer for the Presidential Election) is around. Some of them are expected tonight. Accordingly, proceedings are hereby adjourned.
We will reconvene at 11am tomorrow 25th February, 2019 for the collation of results”#NigeriaDecides2019 pic.twitter.com/xkz6vjVyLO— INEC Nigeria (@inecnigeria) February 24, 2019
Dino Melaye tweets ‘victory’
Nigeria’s often controversial senator, Dino Melaye, who was contesting to retain his Kogi West seat tweeted on Monday morning, saying he had been declared winner.
‘‘I have just been declared winner of the Kogi West Senatorial District Election. God only You would have done this,’‘ read part of the tweet.
To God alone be the glory forever and ever. Amen. I have just been declared winner of the Kogi West Senatorial District Election. God only You would have done this. Kogi West I thank you all. I love you all. What a mighty God we serve.— Senator Dino Melaye (@dino_melaye) 25 février 2019
The senator, who uses his social media accounts to showcase a lavish lifestyle, had been posting different results from polling units across his constituency.
According to Sahara Reporters, Melaye, who contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), polled 85,395 votes, against his closest opponent, Smart Adeyemi, who secured 66,901 votes.
INEC warns against unofficial results
INEC chairperson Mahmood Yakubu told journalists the commission was ‘generally satisfied’ with the vote, despite delays that caused it to be extended to Saturday night and in some cases Sunday.
Yakubu also cautioned against premature declaration of results by candidates, political parties and their associates.
“Only the Independent National Electoral Commission can tally figures, announce results and declare winners,’‘ Yakubu said.
Both Buhari and Atiku’s camps have claimed ‘resounding victories’, citing results from different polling units across the country.
Enough is enough?
Other than the official presidential results from INEC, senatorial results for Kwara Central, where current Senate president Bukola Saraki was challenged by Ibrahim Oloriegbe of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), are likely to be the most anticipated.
Several people have reported on social media that Saraki, who occupies the third most powerful political office in Nigeria, lost the race to retain his seat, thanks to what is being called the ‘Otoge’ movement (Enough is Enough)
Saraki, who defected from the APC to the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), played a critical role in Atiku’s campaign.
If Saraki’s reported is loss is confirmed by INEC, it would be a major political upset for the senate president, who is also a former governor of Kwara State and whose father Olusola Saraki was a senator in Kwara from 1979 to 1983.
#BuhariIsWinning vs #AtikuIsWinning
On social media, supporters of the two main candidates are claiming victory, using results from their own polling units, posted under the hashtags #BuhariIsWinning and #AtikuIsWinning.
My polling unit which is an apc stronghold, atiku won, while apc won the Senate and reps. I don’t want to publish before inec. Omole polling units 028, 029, 030. I was there till night. Made sure the card readers were closed, unused ballot papers canceled #AtikuIsWinning— Gatiri Dakwak Asaolu (@Gatiri) 24 février 2019
Vote counting and collation underway across the country
Voting ended across the country at 2pm for areas where voting kicked off on time. INEC allowed extension for places where the process started late for a reason or the other.
Preliminary results are expected to come out by Sunday with the final result possibly being announced late on Monday, or early Tuesday morning, the BBC is reporting.
According to the laws, the candidate with the most votes is declared the winner in the first round, on condition that he gets at least 25% of the votes in two-thirds of the country’
Early days yet, Buhari makes symbolic triple wins
As results are being counted and collated in parts of the country, voting is ongoing in places where the process started late for one reason or the other.
But with results trickling in especially at the ward level, Buhari has made three significant wins. The first is winning his polling unit, which was largely expected.
The incumbent has gone to win in the unit of his main opponent Atiku Abubakar in Yola, Adamawa State and also that of former president Olusegun Obasanjo – who was a big critic in the days to the vote.
Electoral violence in Lagos
Of all places, the commercial capital of Lagos has been hit by electoral violence according to reports by local portals and eye-witnesses.
The incident took place at Okota, Oshodi/Isolo Local Government Area, LGA, a video posted on Twitter showed people running away from a polling units as live rounds were being discharged.
Voting materials at a polling unit was also seen being burnt after a scattered center. Security has always been top of the agenda during the campaign and a serious concern during the polls.
Authorities assured that enough security had been deployed to quell any incidents of especially ballot snatching and other forms of infraction.
President Buhari had earlier this week stressed that the security forces had been given full orders to shoot at any person or group of persons who attempted to snatch ballot boxes.
The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, called him out for the orders saying he had given “shoot to kill” orders only because he aimed to subvert the will of the people using intimidation.
Buhari’s caution was issued at a meeting of the national caucus of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in the capital, Abuja.
EFCC deploys operatives to combat vote-trading
Nigeria’s anti-graft body, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been busy with working to combat vote trading in the ongoing polls.
EFCC have deployed its operatives across the country to prevent vote selling and vote buying. The practice is rife in Africa’s most populous nation especially among the top parties.
The police, army and other security agencies have been deployed to undertake security tasks during the process.
Reports indicate disruption especially in the commercial capital Lagos whiles there are also places where police have succesfully arrested miscreants for electoral offences.
Headaches identified by local news portal
Despite INEC’s position that card readers have largely been effective, a local news portal, the Cable, lists their malfunctioning as one of the key headaches of the ongoing process.
It adds the late arrival of officials and voting materials in some areas plus the hijack of election materials as the two other issues.
Except for pocket of issues identified in parts of the country, voting has largely been peaceful across the wide expanse of the country. INEC has also extended voting in places where voting started late for whatever reasons.
As stipulated by law, polling units are to open at 8:00am (local time), and close at 2:00 pm. It means some areas where there were no hitches will be done voting whiles other places sill still be voting due to the extension.
INEC happy about card reader success
#INEC is pleased to report that the Smart Card Reader proved its functionality and efficiency by successfully authenticating all Presidential Candidates among millions of other Voters within a short time at their respective polling units across the country.#NigeraDecides2019— INEC Nigeria (@inecnigeria) February 23, 2019
Alongside the presidency, National Assembly polls also underway
The ongoing vote is not only for presidential aspirants but also for two sets of lawmakers – the National Assembly.
Three ballot papers are given each voter, aside the presidency, voting is also taking place for the Senate and House of Representatives nationwide.
On February 16, INEC chief said: “… the Commission has decided to reschedule the Presidential and National Assembly Elections to Saturday, 23rd February 2019.
“Furthermore, the Governorship, State House of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council Elections is rescheduled to Saturday 9th March 2019,” the elections body said.
Clinching the prize
The President of Nigeria is elected using a modified two round system, to serve a four year term of office.
To win in the first round, a candidate must receive a majority of the vote and over 25% of the vote in two-thirds of the states. If no candidate meets this threshold, a second round is held, pitting the top two candidates against each other.
Members of the House of Representatives are elected to 4-year terms, concurrent with the president, using first-past-the-post voting (simple majority) in single-member constituencies.
Members of the Senate are elected to 4-year terms, concurrent with the president, from 108 single-seat constituencies into which the States are divided (three each) and one single-seat constituency consisting the Federal Capital Territory, all by first-past-the-post voting.
To vote in the forthcoming elections, one must be;
- 18 years old
- a Nigerian citizen
- a registered voter
- present a Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) at the polling station
Voting opens at at 8:00am (local time), and closes at 2:00pm
- Presidential elections are held on the 3rd Saturday in February of any general election year.
- Election of governors and members of the National Assembly are held two weeks thereafter.
- In case of the need for a second round in the presidential election, it shall be held within 21 days following the announcement of first round results.
- To contest the election outcome, a petition must be filed within 21 days after the official results were declared.
- Election tribunals including the Court of Appeal for presidential and governorship elections, shall deliver its judgment in writing within 180 days from the date of the filing of the petition.
- The courts may however adopt the practice of delivering its decision first, and defering the reasons for the verdict to a latter date.
At a glance
- 72 presidential candidates
- 360 members to be elected to House of Representatives
- 109 Senate members
- Population: 200,962,417 (2019 est.)
- Registered Voters: 84,004,084
What Buhari said after voting
“It is my constituency here, I’m pleased people are already lined up so at the same time the vote can continue, thank you very much.
(REPORTER ASKING: How do you feel yourself sir?”) Well so far, so good. Nigerians understand that they are believing themselves.(REPORTER ASKING: “Are you hopeful?”) Very hopeful indeed. (REPORTER ASKING: “If you lose will you accept defeat and congratulate the winner?) I will congratulate myself, I’m going to be the winner. Thank you very much.”
Photo credit: @BayoOmoboriowo
Atiku expects “successful transition”
Over in the northeast, in Yola, capital of Adamawa State, his main contender and former vice-president Atiku Abubakar said he was looking forward to a successful transition after casting his ballot.
Atiku a former ally of Buhari has called on voters to repeat the 2015 feat where an incumbent was voted out. The two opponents were in the the same camp when the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, defeated the Goodluck Jonathan led government.
Atiku abandoned the APC and rejoined the now main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, under which he had served as vice-president for two terms, i.e. 1999 – 2007.
I just cast my vote at Ajiya Ward in Yola, Adamawa State. Go out and cast your vote too if you have not done so yet. -AA #NigeriaDecides2019 pic.twitter.com/TXE9oi6XU3— Atiku Abubakar (@atiku) February 23, 2019
Main opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar cast his vote in Yola, Adamawa State
‘I Look Forward To Successful Transition’ he told reporters after voting.#NigeriaDecides2019#NigeriaDecides pic.twitter.com/ygR5taTdle— africanews (@africanews) February 23, 2019
Suspected Islamists attack Nigerian town hours before poll, residents say
Suspected Islamist militants on Saturday attacked a northeastern Nigerian town, forcing people to flee hours before presidential election polls were due to open, residents said.
“We have fled, along with our wives and children and hundreds of others,” Ibrahim Gobi, who lives in the town of Geidam in Yobe state, said by telephone.
“We are right now running and hiding in the bushes.” Around the same time a Reuters witness said blasts were heard in Maiduguri, the capital of the neighbouring state of Borno.
Northeast Nigeria has been hit by the decade-long Boko Haram insurgency with attacks in recent months carried out by offshoot Islamic State in West Africa Province.